International Shipping: Everything You Need to Know to Deliver Beyond Your Borders

International Shipping: Everything You Need to Know to Deliver Beyond Your Borders

Shipping outside your country is worth considering if you want your ecommerce business to grow. This means that you have to understand what shipping internationally entails. 

The first thing you need is a strategy that is ideal for you and your store.

Your International Shipping Strategy

There is no perfect list of practices that suits all businesses. However, there are some central decisions that you should consider when building your strategy.

What and Where You Will Ship

Do you have a specific country and product in mind? If you are not sure, maybe these indicators will help.

  • Start close and small. Ship close to home so you can know what the experience is like.
  • Monitor current demand. Analyze your shop traffic to see the countries that are already showing interest.
  • Consider the countries’ main language. Expand to countries that speak the language(s) you are fluent in.
  • Identify suitable non-domestic markets. Know which markets suit your business.

Country Rules and Regulations

Once you find suitable countries and products, check the rules and regulations. Some items are prohibited or limited in certain countries.

Check that particular government’s website or use UPS to get this information. 

Shipping Internationally with Shopify Shipping

If you are a Shopify merchant in Canada and US, you can get discounted rates with Canada Post, DHL Express, UPS and USPS. 

When choosing a shipping carrier, consider these four factors.

  • Costs: using a number of carriers will help you save money. 
  • Delivery options: have your customers choose from a variety of delivery options with a tradeoff between price and timeline.
  • Tracking and insurance: for more expensive packages, consider insurance.


This is crucial to any strategy. Be communicative and transparent with your buyers about shipping costs. If they get surprised at checkout, they are likely to abandon the cart. 

Make everything plain and clear in your policy.

Charging for International Shipping

While determining the total price of the product, you should factor in the following:

  • Cost of product
  • Packaging
  • Cost of shipping’
  • Handling charges
  • Duties and taxes
  • Credit card fee
  • Profit margin


As far as shipping is concerned, you will need boxes and maybe stuffing or bubble wrap. 

The packaging should be simple but sturdy. 

Cost of Shipping

Consider and compare: use a rate calculator of your carriers of choice to determine the price for your average, smallest and largest order. 

Structure your pricing: determine whether you will use flat rate shipping, carrier rate shipping or free shipping. 

Handling Charges

International packages are handled by many facilities before they get to the customer. The handling charge depends on how long it takes you to prepare the package. 

Duties and Taxes

Be prepared to deal with additional taxes, duties and customs. Countries differ and it is upon you to make sure that the delivery is smooth. 

Customs: these are taxes or tariffs that a government levies on imported goods. 

Duties and taxes: these are tariffs or taxes imposed on international sale of goods. The percentage is usually not fixed. 

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